Monday, 13 June 2016

Wissington to Assington - Suffolk Open Studios

A few weeks ago I picked up a catalogue for Suffolk Open Studios and my friend Lynne suggested we visit a few artists and go for a nice walk at the same time.  We went on the Sunday of the first open studio weekend 4/5th June - we both picked out an artist we wanted to visit plus a third artist if there was time - Lynne chose Brin Edwards and I chose Anne Townshend - and just to make the day complete the weather was glorious.  

We decided that we would drive to Wissington first to see Anne Townshed, a linocut printmaker whose main subject is the Suffolk landscape.  Her beautiful victorian cottage and garden was just perfect in the June sunshine and inside every bit of wall space was hung with Anne's landscape prints.  Anne showed us her studio and talked us through her method of working, preferring to paint the landscape first rather than work from a photograph.  I think then she copies the painting onto a transparency and I presume cuts round the shapes which she can then place on the lino thereby able to cut with greater accuracy.   I preferred the simpler lines and couldn't resist one of her landscapes that she had printed four times, first laying down different papers, such as bits of coloured tissue, newsprint, map and I think the inside of an envelope.  I think there is a technical term for this but I can't remember it at the moment.

Anne had put out some elderflower presse for visitors to her studio and we couldn't resist sitting in her garden admiring the view and her garden and soaking up the sun.  Of course, I would have taken photographs had I not found that the battery in my camera needed recharging!!

However, we then pressed on and drove to Brin Edward's studio in Assington.   Again, Assington is a very pretty village and we found Brin's cottage down a narrow lane at the end of a row of gorgeous thatched terrace houses and brick cottages.  Brin paints wildlife and landscapes mainly in oils and has built a wonderful studio in his back garden from straw bales.  Most of his painting were of birds - he explained that he did a lot of wildlife illustration work for publishers which tends to be very precise and that the painting on show were done in a freer, more personal style that he had developed.  He also said that he ran painting workshop from his studio and had a few places left later in the year.  

We also chatted to him about his fabulous studio which he built himself after going on a course to learn how to shape and construct an oval shaped studio with two straight sides from straw bales which were then plastered inside and out.  He said the studio was built on a foundation of old car tyres, he had two sets of double doors opposite each other so in the summer you could have a nice cool through breeze - he said the studio was cool in summer and retained the heat in winter.  

Having had such a wonderful time visiting these two artists we thought we should start our walk which was cross country from Assington to Little Cornard onto Great Cornard to visit the studio of Roger Duke, a ceramicist.  The walk from Assington to Great Cornard was about five miles which was so lovely across fields, quiet country lanes, past quaint cottages and colourful gardens and we even found a weir and a small nature reserve but, alas, we could not find a route to get to Great Cornard in time to visit Roger Duke's studio (studio visiting times are between 11 and 5).  So before we turned round and started our walk back we took a breather and sat by the weir to watch the wildlife.        

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